A couple of days ago, I asked if any of my non-U.S. readers would be interested in writing a guest post about how they view our gun culture from outside our borders. I had a couple of takers, and Roger was first in line with a historic view and an opinion of where we are today. There is a saying that sometimes we “can’t see the forest for the trees”, and that is why I value the views of those outside this nation, who often see our situation far more clearly than we can. I’ll let Roger tell you in his own words … Thank you, Roger, for this very thoughtful, honest view!
The Religion of The Gun
A Brief Opening Statement on Humanity
All belief systems have a historical start bred out of a perceived necessity. This is embraced by followers who in turn are part of a population. In time the belief system becomes ingrained into a culture and often forms its own symbiosis with other sympathetic or empathetic beliefs, until it is hard for the outsider to separate one from the other, while to the insider they are all part of the identity.
Within The American Lore
At the start of the American journey there was an idea that in too much central government lay a path to tyranny and that the ideal was in a combination of communities coming together for the common good when the need required this, otherwise independence would be the norm. Being realists of that time it was understood self-defence would be a requisite, for there were perceived hostile European empires ever predatory and natives seen as alien savages. A standing army was viewed with suspicion as this could be the tool of a central government which might see fit to impose its will. In addition in an ever expanding nation local defence was seen as a wise stance against lawless elements. Thus was born the notion that a citizen should have the right to bear arms and be on call to come together with the rest of the community for that common good. It was assumed the community would be the one best to decide what was the common good.
Frailties of All Belief Systems
At this juncture it should be noted all belief systems start out with a set of simplistic ideas as to what is the best solution. All accept that Humans have flaws, some maintain strict adherence to their idea of the belief is the true and only way. This misses the point of an old saw that in one version says ‘The Rule Book is for the guidance of the wise and the adherence of the unfortunate’
In The Beginning Was The Gun
A measure of Brevity requires we move on two centuries and a few decades and consider the current state of the evolution of the right to bear arms and suspicion of central government in the development of the USA as the two are linked in one political symbiosis which has become cancerous.
The growth of the Legal Gun Culture is of course linked to that mis-used part of the Constitution ‘Right to bear arms’. To quote the full sentence “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” does not actually help the Gun Control argument, because the Gun Lobby has enough followers who are willing to subscribe to the ‘Suspicion of Central Government’ belief and that guns are necessary just in case Central Government tries to impose its will on them, ignoring the fact that the said body is imposing its will on a daily basis because that is how government works. The events of January 2021 in Washington is sufficient evidence of effects of the cancer.
The Gun Lobby also are content to see gun ownership as a defence against mob (ie other races) violence coming near their community; the term ‘violence’ being very elastic in their view; such as say a BLM march. It is difficult for the Gun Lobby to argue against this, when most of their own marches are groups composed of ‘White Folk’. It is a nascent racial/cultural aspect prevalent around the world. The problem being in the USA there is a very efficient commercial arms manufacturing and distribution network.
Add to this the tragic entrenchment of sections of the White Communities into the idea that they are under threat, a view fostered and encouraged by extremists, and opportunists with an excess of media outlets and you have a replay of the Cold War mentality. Thus the manufacture and sales of guns is seen as part of an insurance scheme- ‘because you never know’ is in the back of minds fed by all manner of febrile propaganda. From this breeds another fear, from those in communities who feel they are under threat from the perceived ‘White’ Gun Lobby, that being they had better arm themselves…’because you never know…’ A Cold War without government and diplomatic channels to damp down any heating up.
In this febrile and fractured social situation it becomes a near impossibility for government to impose the required sanctions to limit the gun owners and the amount of weaponry they can legally hold. For the ever opportunistic opposition to such laws need only raise the twin spectres of ‘Central Government’ and ‘They’ taking our guns away’ and out come the proverbial torches and pitchforks. Never mind that such access allows volatile folk means to a violent solution to their disaffection. Never mind that in even the most disciplined and trained army in a battle zone when shot and shell are flying there will be those struck by their own side, thus forget the ‘good guys’ carrying guns solution.
The View From Outside
Any Gun Lobby supporter reading this will tell me I don’t understand America. Actually I understand their part of America all too well. It is a place of fundamentalist views, of narrow-eyed suspicion, angry that there are still heretics and ‘those people’. It is a place of a fiery unforgiving warped version of core beliefs. It is a place which is willing to accept other people dying needlessly so that it can cling to its obsessive bitterness. A place where as far as it is concerned all ills and woes are down to a corrupt elite and their effete lackies. It is the mirror image of views you would find in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, vast swathes of Saharan and Sub-Saharan Africa, in areas of South East Asia, all hiding behind religions they claim they follow but never bothered to study in depth; all who see the gun as the final arbiter in any argument.
These so-called Americans, who care nothing for the Nation but only their enclave. They are little different from the chanting mobs in any of the aforementioned locations. I would like to think these fine white folk are offended by being likened to ‘those people’. Because here is the kicker folks. We outside of the USA are inured to the news of suicide bombs and attacks on villages, we lament them and then move onto the next news. And it is now the same on the gun killings in the USA, we shake our heads, we are sorry for the dead and their nearest but then move on, because we can’t get ‘Those Gun Freak types’ to see any sense. ‘Those people’.
Be sure to check out Roger’s blog, Writing Despite Computers and Programmes!